Three students at Schuyler-Colfax Middle School understand the importance of eliminating cyberbullying.
Emily Becker, Lindsey Kurtz, and Taylor Domico were the first-, second-, and third-place winners in Cablevision’s Delete Cyberbullying contest. The girls created posters aimed at raising awareness about preventing cyberbullying. Approximately 500 students throughout the state entered the contest.
The girls were recognized at a special assembly Wednesday. Kurtz and Domico received a Flip camera and iPod, respectively. Becker received a tablet computer.
Evan Zubiaurre, art teacher at , said that the lesson behind the project is an important one.
“No one is held accountable for what is said and posted on the Internet,” Zubiaurre said. “Anyone can say whatever they want online and it’s a shame that it has to happen to children especially.”
Before students created their posters, they discussed what keywords were associated with cyberbullying.
“You need keywords and images in mind before you start something like this to create an illustration that pops,” Zubiaurre said.
Tricia Kaminski, regional education manager for Cablevision, said that cyberbullying has so much more potential to hurt students than bullying did when she was in school. More and more students having profiles on social networking sites and unrestricted access the Internet, students have no safe haven from bullies anymore.
“When I was in school, you could be picked on and then go home and you’d be safe,” Kaminski said. “And the poor kids being bullied have no defense for it other than to say something back, which doesn’t help alleviate the problem.”
Becker’s mother Denyse said she does not allow her children to have Facebook pages.
“I think cyberbullying is the leech of today’s society and I’ve seen too many tears to allow my kids to have them,” she said.
Assemblyman Scott Rumana and Mayor Chris Vergano attended the assembly.
Rumana said that what makes cyberbullying particularly troubling is the element of anonymity that often accompanies it.
“You don’t even have to have your name attached to what you say,” Ruamna said. “That’s why it’s crucial that we promote stopping cyberbullying in our community.”
Gov. Chris Christie in January. The law states that teachers and other school personnel must report incidents of bullying to principals the day they occur.
Each school district must now have an anti-bullying coordinator and an anti-bullying specialist to lead an anti-bullying team that includes the school's principal, a teacher, and a parent.
Interim Superintendent said the day was “special.” He encouraged the children to continue to use skills and knowledge they are learning to have a positive impact on the world.
Emily Becker said those people who are bullied need to be diplomatic about how they respond to it.
“The worst thing you can do is say something back to a bully. If you do, you’re just as bad as they are,” she said. “If someone does say something about you online, talk to that person when you see them. They might not even realize they are saying something mean.”